One reason for the death of voice mail is the change from convenience to annoyance imposed by the carriers.
First you hear “Hi, it’s John Smith. Leave a message, and I’ll get back to you”. (5 seconds)
And THEN you hear a 15-second canned carrier message "[Phone number] is not available right now. Please leave a detailed message after the tone. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press pound for more options. To leave a callback number, press 5.”
That extra 15 seconds is annoying as hell to wait out, and it's only put there so that the carrier can use up metered minutes on an artificially scarce resource.
Then when you go to *play* the message, you have to wait through the "First message, from, phone number xxx-xxx-xxxx, received at ".
The old-style was much more convenient. Leave a message *beep* "Hi, this is your sister, please give me a call". Oftentimes 10 seconds *total* gets the point across.
The new-style - not so much.
Take the time wasted on each worthless recording (15 secs), multiply by the number of messages each year, and you get a *lot* of wasted man-years.
Thanks, carriers! Your relentless pursuit of money has ruined a perfectly useful feature.